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1. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND

moi bon TALKING ABOUT,' SAID FLORENCE" (P. 75). Thon 2 "THE LITTLE MAID . . . FLEW AFTER HETTY (P. 78). bortis nibug

heard them both call out in high glee, “Hip, hip,

hoorah !" as she disappeared on the other side of the worst of it was that it seemed as if it would be the hedge and skimmed along the lane. so very interesting if she could only make out what “ Bother the book !" she cried angrily. “It conthe meaning really was.

fuses me so, I can't think of anything. Why Still reading, and running as hard as she could, i don't I stop, I wonder ?” She said this over about she few out of the garden gate. She wished to fifty times before she could understand what she turn round and see how her parents looked ; but was thinking of, for she was reading as fast as she that book drew her eyes on to its pages with could all the while, and everybody knows how the fascination of a serpent. Then she suddenly hard it is to read and think at just the same time.

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I will think," she said, and flung the book down “I can't stand still!” shouted Hetty, who had got in the tall grass and furze. Then she began to a good way past the little cottager. “I've got think. “Is anybody running after me to stop me ?” muscular

spasms; it's a disease that makes you run She screwed her head round, but there was not just as if you were wound up like a clock. Run a sign of any one, and then she remembered the after me and catch me.”

Hip, hip, hoorah !” she had heard, and she really The little maid, nothing loth, flew after Hetty at began to believe that her parents didn't care a bit her topmost speed, and a very good runner she where she went to-that they had not even followed was, for she was soon alongside of her. “I'm her out of the garden.

going to the village to fetch some sugar and tea," At this dreadful discovery Hetty was filled with she said, and she held up a sixpence. alarm and dismay. It was beginning to grow dusk ; Hetty's eyes glistened. “Do you know," she and although she could not have been running cried, “I've been running ever since this morning, inore than half an hour, she had already gone right and I'm awfully tired. I don't believe anything across the great common, and was on the skirts of but sixpence will stop me." the wood. “At this rate," she thought, “I shall “What funny medicine !” said the little girl. soon get half round England. If I could only “How can sixpence cure your spasms ?” stand still a moment I could think how to stop “You don't understand," said Hetty irritably. myself; but there's no good waiting for that, be- “It's a very strange thing altogether, and if I were cause if I could stop at all I could stop altogether. to explain you wouldn't be able to see it. But if Why can't I think? I must and will find out the you'd only lend me that sixpence I'd give you a way to stop.”

shilling in return (Hetty didn't say when). I'm While these thoughts were passing through her ready to drop with running." mind she never noticed that she had plunged right “Where's the shilling?" asked the child. into the wood. Now she was startled by finding it Oh, you'd have to wait till I got home,” Hetty suddenly very dark, for a little way in it the trees replied, ignoring the fact that she must have two were pretty thickly grown.

weeks' pocket-money before she possessed such a “At any rate, I'm not obliged to go any particular way," she said to herself, “so I'll just turn round “I'll lend it you for a minute,” said the little girl, and go home. What a stupid I am !”

who was evidently curious to see how much truth But Hetty found to her horror that, try as she there was in Hetty's strange story. would, she couldn't turn round. Just as she got a Hetty eagerly seized the coin, exclaiming, “Now little edgeways, something she could not resist I've got the fine!” seemed to set her straight again, with her face Her legs immediately began to slacken their pace, towards the dark heart of the wood.

and presently she stood still. How lovely!" she “This is too ridiculous !” she cried impatiently. exclaimed, drawing a long breath of relief. “How could I forget the way to turn round ? It's “Now give me back my sixpence,” cried the all the running. I suppose you have to do it a

little girl. different way when you're running so fast. And Oh, no!” said Hetty, clasping it tightly, and yet I can't remember any rules about turning round. feeling that nothing could induce her to part with It never seemed to come difficult before.”

it. “ If you come to my house I'll give you a All this time Hetty was running so quickly that shilling the week after next.” she had penetrated a good way into the wood. It “But to-morrow's Sunday !” cried the child, was very hard running here, for thick roots of trees beginning to sob. “ If you don't give it back we lay all across her path, and frequently tripped her shan't have tea and sugar for to-morrow." up. But however much she hurt herself she still “If you come home with me you can have went on, quite heedless of the pain, not because pudding, and beef, and cake, and all sorts of things," she liked it, but because she couldn't help herself. said Hetty. “I know mamma would give you some.

Presently she noticed that it seemed to be getting “Enough for all ?” asked the child, with lighter, and in the distance she saw an opening in glistening eyes. the trees. She very soon reached it, and found a "Oh, yes!” Hetty answered readily, not caring clear space with a small cottage. A little girl about so long as she kept the sixpence.

“Come along her own age came out of the door.

with me." Presently Hetty overtook her.

“ Where are you

* How far is it?" asked the little girl cautiously. going?" she asked.

“ To Haslemere." The child stared at her in surprise.

“Why, that's about twenty miles. We shouldn't wait a moment I'd tell you,” she cried to Hetty. get there to-night, and mother'd think I was lost.

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I must have my sixpence! You're a thief! Give " The forests of England formerly abounded with it to me, I say !” crying bitterly.

wolves. There are still some to be found in the While the little girl was crying and scolding, sombre depths of lonely woods, far removed from Hetty, tightly clasping the coin, had turned round, human habitations." and was walking quickly towards the wood.

There could be no doubt that it was a wolf. She walked along pretty briskly for her-her Without a moment's hesitation, Hetty flung the sixusual pace being something like a snail's ; but pence into the deep tangled undergrowth, and to evening was drawing on, and it began to grow her intense relief found herself speeding away very dark in the wood. Still, there was nothing for through the dark forest, heedless of roots and low it but to get home as fast as she could, for there hanging branches. was no house but the cottage anywhere near, and But the faster she ran the faster the wolf came it was not likely they would give her shelter. after her. It was to be a race between them, and She wondered whether the cottage folk really only Hetty remembered with consternation that he had had tea and bread-and-butter for their Sunday ; four legs to her two. if so, they would have only bread-and-butter now, I wish I could describe Hetty's feelings while without the tea. Hetty felt a little uncomfortable. this grim race was going on. How her heart beat The little girl called her a thief.

But that was with terror, and the dreadful feeling of loneliness nonsense, because she was going to pay it back ; and despair as the baying came nearer, and she beand, of course, she must get home, even if they | lieved every moment she would be torn to pieces didn't have tea. Tea wasn't much. She didn't by that ravening wolf, with no one near to succour care about it.

her, or even know the dreadful fate that had be. Twenty miles to go. It was no good walking ; fallen her. she'd never get home. She must run.

And it didn't seem likely that poor Hetty would But try as she would, her legs wouldn't go. They get home. The wolf came nearer and nearer yet ; had just the same sort of feeling about them as it was impossible for her to run faster. She was when she had tried to stand still, only in the other almost dropping with fatigue now, aching in every way. She seemed quite to have forgotten the way limb, and with a sort of numbness all over her. to start off. They were as obstinate as she was Still she sped on, with that dreadful pitter-patter herself, and that was saying something.

ever following. Suddenly she felt her frock seized, “I should like to beat them,” she thought and with a cry of horror she looked round, to behold angrily. “Why don't they do what they're wanted the great mild eyes of Bruin, her father's hound. to? Obstinate things !"

How it happened she could not tell, but It was no use calling them names ; they didn't presently she felt herself lifted in some one's arms, go a bit the faster.

and worn out with fatigue, she dropped off into a It came into her mind that if she got rid of sweet sleep. the sixpence she would most likely set off running That some one must have carried her home, again. But that was a horrible alternative. She for when she awoke she was lying wrapped up outrecalled with a shudder the long run she had side her own bed, feeling so beautifully rested, all already had, and she didn't know which she disliked except the aching in her limbs. the most, the running or not being able to run; “Well, Hetty, how do you feel ?” asked her besides, after the trouble she'd had to get the mother. sixpence, she could not bring herself to throwing it “Very nice, except the ache," Hetty replied, with away. If the little girl were anywhere near she a long-drawn sigh of relief. “But after running so would give it back. She plodded on through the much--forty miles nearly-_" dusky glades of the forest, which were growing Running !” said her mother. so dark that she began to tremble at every sound

mean, child ?" among the branches.

But Hetty only replied, “I wonder how I can As she walked along with difficulty, for she was find the sixpence? Would you let me have one to dreadfully tired and footsore, she heard the distant pay the fine till I do? I don't think I could run sound of a dog barking. She listened eagerly, any more. But I ought to give it back to the little hoping it might be one of her father's dogs, who girl first, I think." would conduct her safely home.

“ I don't know what you're talking about,” said The sounds came nearer and louder, but they her mother. “Have you been dreaming ?” seemed to have an angry growl in them. Suddenly “Oh, no! I never dreamt anything when I went there flashed into her mind some words out of an to sleep. But who picked me up in the wood ?” old book she had been reading the day before. she asked ; "and how did I get here, mamma?”

“ What do you

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"I think the child's wandering in her head," said Mrs. Martin gravely. "If you don't keep quiet now, Hetty, you won't be well enough to have any birthday party on Monday."

"I'm not wandering," said Hetty, inclined to cry.

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"In the wood?" said her mother. "Your papa carried you in out of the garden, quite numb with the cold. I hope you won't be ill. You know you'd no business to be reading out there this time of year. I never dreamed you were out there,

till Bruin barked so that we went out to see. Sensible old fellow!"

"But I didn't go to sleep in the garden," said Hetty very deliberately. "I never went to sleep till I was more than half-way through the wood; and you must remember how papa said Off you go!' and you told me to go faster. I couldn't have run all that way in my sleep, I am sure."

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"WHO PICKED ME UP IN THE WOOD?' SHE ASKED (P 79)

"I know I didn't go to sleep in the garden. I have been running and running."

Her father came in presently, and Hetty still persisted in what she said. But Mr. Martin was exasperating, and declared he had never asked her for a fine, nor said "Off you go!" nor " Hip, hip, hoorah! Nothing of the kind."

So the question is, Who did ask her, then?

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